Ranking the NLL’s first-round draft classes: Class of 2001 comes in solid at No. 2 overall

Forward Blaine Manning has been a steady producer in the NLL for 11 seasons. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Forward Blaine Manning has been a steady producer in the NLL for 11 seasons. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

This is about as star-studded as it gets for a first round draft class of the National Lacrosse League. Points and production, defense, longevity and durability. Outside of not having a goalie in this class, the boys of 2001 are stacked when it comes to ability at both ends of the floor. We’re talking names like Prout, Manning, Suddons, Cousins and Chapman. And that’s just getting started on the list of contributors to this 13-pick class that makes it such a strong group. And really, it could have been even stronger had one member not opted to play college lacrosse. Let’s check out the numbers for the Class of 2001 to see what makes these guys among the best ever in the National Lacrosse League.

2001 first-round picks

1. Gavin Prout (Saints)
2. Blaine Manning (Roughnecks)
3. Scott Stewart (Storm)
4. Derek Suddons (Landsharks)
5. Ryan Cousins (Landsharks)
6. Spencer Martin (Landsharks)
7. Brian Kazarian (Attack)
8. Geoff Snider (Ravens)
9. Bill Greer (Landsharks)
10. Kevin Hanson (Ravens)
11. Teddy Jenner (Knighthawks)
12. Sandy Chapman (Rock)
13. Andrew Guindon (Rebel)

Regular-season statistics

Games: 1,386
Goals: 989 (76.1 average per player)
Assists: 1,765 (135.8)
Points: 2,754 (211.8) (ranks No. 1 and No. 4 out of 24 classes)

Playoff statistics

Games: 105
Goals: 61 (4.7)
Assists: 104 (8.0)
Points: 165 (12.7) (No. 4 and No. 8 )

Overall ranking: 2

Yet another first round with a little of everything for everybody.

You want offense and leadership? Prout and Manning get it done, leading this draft class straight to the top as far as overall points production with 2,754 points, which ranks as the most of any of the 24 first-round draft classes. Defense and draws? Stewart, Suddons, Cousins and Chapman fit the bill quite nicely, even more than 10 seasons later. (Snider was drafted but opted for NCAA lacrosse at Denver, then was a first-round pick for Philadelphia in the 2006 entry draft).

Jenner, Martin and Guindon bring depth to the class which lacks only a goalie to make it an all-around All-Star class. Then again, even with all the NLL drafts to date in history, not many of the first-round classes have goalies in them. Still, this is one of the more solid first-round classes the NLL has seen and it’s a class that continues to produce to this day as 6 of the 13 draftees remain active and all 6 were on playoff teams in 2012.

It’s easy to look at the overall production and think the boys of 2001 should be No. 1, but having 13 players in your draft class helps inflate those numbers. That’s why we put more focus on the averages, which still are impressive on their own. But once you see the No. 1 class in our next installment, we think you’ll agree that it’s pretty clear why the Class of 2001 comes in where it does.

Previous classes

No. 24: Class of 1988
No. 23: Class of 1989
No. 22: Class of 1993
No. 21: Class of 1994
No. 20: Class of 1995
No. 19: Class of 1997
No. 18: Class of 1992
No. 17: Class of 1996
No. 16: Class of 1991
No. 15: Class of 2011
No. 14: Class of 2010
No. 13: Class of 2004
No. 12: Class of 2008
No. 11: Class of 2007
No. 10: Class of 2009
No. 9: Class of 2006
No. 8: Class of 2002
No. 7: Class of 1998
No. 6: Class of 2005
No. 5: Class of 1999
No. 4: Class of 2003
No. 3: Class of 2000

Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at bob.chavez@nllinsider.com or go to RochesterSports.com.

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